Here we fu**ing go again I guess.
I never realised just how incredibly tiring it can be to have to be endlessly arguing about something that doesn’t exist. Thankfully, morons won’t shut up about ‘cancel culture’, so at least I’ve learned something.
The idea that there is a concerted effort by progressive minded (‘woke’—a word now so devoid of its original meaning and used as a proxy for other, very obvious things, by the right) people to shut down any discussion over things that they find unacceptable, and-crucially-that the power structures of society are set up in such a way so as to give progressives the power to actually meaningfully do any such thing, would be hilarious if the polar opposite wasn’t true. That’s not to say that instances of over-sensitivity and pious self-righteousness don’t exist among people who call themselves progressives. Of course they do. But to pretend that that is somehow a substantive issue and a ‘threat to free speech’ is an exercise in ridiculous disingenuousness. The vast majority of those who complain about ‘wokeness going too far’—the sister complaint of ‘cancel culture ruined everything’—are people who have zero interest in advancing any agenda other than that which causes a regression in our shared discourse and the erosion of rights that exploited groups have fought tooth and nail for. They have no interest in challenging real power.
Because the eternal irony here of course is the fact that a form of cancel culture does exist, except in the other direction. Whether it is Palestinian journalists being silenced when reporting on their systemic oppression, or employees being blacklisted for joining unions, or fossil fuel companies discrediting climate change research for decades, or indeed the entirety of a country’s establishment banding together to destroy a once in a lifetime chance of progressive electoral change, the examples of left-targeting cancel culture are too numerous to mention. ‘Cancel culture’ in that respect is just another term for ‘the powerful doing what they need to do in order to protect their advantage’.
Unsurprisingly, that’s not the cancel culture we hear about in the news when the protestations and the grievances come pouring forth from the wealthy, (often) white, (often) males so dreadfully impacted by something the all-powerful Progressive World Government has decreed. You see this a lot in politics, when, for example, calls for the recognition of trans peoples’ human rights are framed as examples of cancel culture, and you see it hell of a lot in comedy, when the same thing happens to pointing out that taking the piss out of traditionally vulnerable and exploited groups might not be the virtuous continuation of the best of comedy’s truth-telling heritage that those who take part in it would like to claim it as being.
It’s into this landscape that the BBC now rides, providing a vehicle for those heroes of free speech who have been battered into submission by wokeness and cancel culture:
The BBC is piloting a new comedy show to combat the perception that all its comedians are from the ‘woke’ liberal left.
Unsafe Space will feature a number of comedians linked to the Comedy Unleashed ‘free-speech’ comedy nights and championed by pressure group The Campaign For Common Sense.
Unsafe Space is billed as ‘provocative, unorthodox stand-up comedy for the open-minded, bringing diversity of opinion to BBC Radio 4’ - suggesting the programme-makers don’t believe that currently exists.
The Campaign For Common Sense, which kicks back against transgender rights campaigners and believes Black Lives Matter is ‘divisive ideological nonsense’, listed Doyle, Kearse, Bourke and Dixon as ‘alternative comedians that could be booked’ by the BBC after it claimed bias in its output last year.
‘nuff said innit?
Omg this looks hilarious and brave? Will you be doing any twists on the now classic attack helicopter joke? That joke is so good I never ever get tired of it! No matter how bitter or irrelevant the comedian, nor how many permutations of it I hear!— Andrew Doyle appreciation account (@HayleyDLondon) December 22, 2021
This is definitely one of those sting operations, anyone who applies for tickets will be forced to pay child support / checked against sex offenders register or both pic.twitter.com/j1La5lcz51— Seán O))) ðŸº (@sireacht) December 22, 2021
I think I might curl up and die of embarrassment now rather than wait to hear it. Might as well get it out of the way.— Mabel Agwitch (@fredtheimpaler) December 22, 2021
It would be a lot cheaper for the BBC if they just broadcasted Enoch Powell's Rivers of Blood speech with a laugh track dubbed on, and the end result would be more or less the same— Dr Fran van Plannaram Ph.D. (@dismalplaces) December 22, 2021
This is going to be fantastic for generating content on Twitter. So much divorced, sexually inadequate energy. Let the games begin!— ðš‚ðš„ðšð™¾ðš‚ (@AntifaPsyOp2) December 23, 2021
Woke means to be well informed about racial inequality, so the BBC are making a show that displays people showing ignorance to racial equality? Jim Davidson must be raging he didn't get the call.— Patrick Bogan (@Bogiesalterego) December 22, 2021
And what, they want an “atta boy” for that? “Oh gosh it was so brave of you to get up on stage and do a racism!”— ðŸ´Sâ’¶intðŸ´SluggoðŸ´ (@SaintSluggo) December 22, 2021
Excuse me if I wear gloves reading this, I wouldn't want to cut myself on all those edges.— A Scribe Called C.West (@CiaranWest) December 22, 2021
Is 'anti-woke' another way of saying 'not funny'?— Concerned Citizen (@shinyandnew70) December 22, 2021
shortly to be cancelled because "anti-woke" people are incredibly bad at comedy— Podcasting is Praxis (@PraxisCast) December 22, 2021
America's public broadcasting is like sesame street and shit, in the UK its about manufacturing hatred and social discord and generally making life as miserable for oppressed groups as possible so people who are already rich and comfortable can feel even more important.— j o s h (@gimmeachanc3) December 22, 2021
I'm sure we all need a show where the main jokes are "I identify as a dolphin" and "don't assume my gender".— James M (@hmrhd123) December 22, 2021
Finally, the people with all the money and power are putting those marginalised groups back in their place.— Ð³Ð»ÑƒÐ¿Ñ‹Ð¹ ÑÐµÐºÑÑƒÐ°Ð»ÑŒÐ½Ñ‹Ð¹ Ð¡Ñ‚Ð°Ð»Ð¸Ð½ (@WillEatYourRich) December 22, 2021
There isn't anything truly challenging about spewing the same racism, transphobia, sexism, etc, that continues to be the culturally accepted default mode but it feels dangerous to people who are never actually at risk of being put in harm's way by it.— Kayleigh Donaldson (@Ceilidhann) December 22, 2021
what does anti-woke actually mean?— SloaneGhetti ðŸŽ„ (@SloaneFragment) December 22, 2021
it seems to jus mean bigotry.
"Diversity of opinion"— VÆŽX, Werewolf Who "Fights" Deer (@vexwerewolf) December 22, 2021
Okay, so are they going to bring on socialists? People who disagree with neoliberalism? People who are pro-trans rights?